The mumps outbreak at Temple University is now in the triple digits.
Officials are reporting 105 cases of the contagious viral disease: 15 confirmed and 87 suspected. All of them are associated with the university, which first reported the outbreak at the end of February with four cases.
To stem the spread, Temple is holding two walk-in vaccination clinics this week. “I think we have a handle on it, but we’re expecting a third wave,” Mark Denys, the school’s student health director, told CBS 3 on Wednesday.
Temple students and faculty will be able to get the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) shot free of charge at the clinics. One was held Wednesday; another will be on Friday in Temple’s Mitten Hall’s Great Court from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The number of reported cases has doubled since March 17.
“Because of the nature of mumps ― it can take up to three weeks for someone who was exposed to become symptomatic ― we realize that the outbreak will continue for a while longer, but hope that these clinics help bring it to a close,” said James Garrow, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, in a statement.
About 1,000 people have gotten booster shots at Temple already. The city health department is investigating whether there was a stem cause of the outbreak, like a school social event, CBS 3 reported.
— TU Emergency Mgmt. (@TempleUOEM) March 25, 2019
Early symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, lethargy, and loss of appetite, followed by the disease’s telltale swelling of salivary glands, which causes puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw. The disease is spread through droplets of the virus, much like the common cold: via coughing or sneezing, by saliva, and through contaminated surfaces such as doorknobs.
Recovery is similar to that of chickenpox — there is no treatment, only symptom relief such as rest and over-the-counter painkillers. There is little risk of serious complications in healthy people, but experts say that anyone who is immunocompromised or pregnant should contact their doctor immediately if they have symptoms.